Monday, 20 June 2022

The Mill Hill Music Festival 2022 - Rog's Festival Diary Day 4, 5, 6, 7 - 16-19 June

I've been a bit busy for the last couple of days with the festival, hence the lack of blogs!

Anyway, here's my Diary to catch up, for all of you fascinated with what goes on if you are a festival organiser!

Thursday 16th - Joe Stilgoe at Frith Manor Primary School

9am. The first task of the day was to pick up 90 chairs from another primary school in North Finchley. We had to do this early to fit in with the schools day. I borrowed a van from my good friends Mary and Paul Dawson, who run Kitchens with Elegance. Fellow committee member Dan came with me.

Having got the chairs, we then went to get a chair mover from Hartley Hall and collect some gazebos we'd lent to Mill Hill Library for an event. Having got all of that out of the way, I went to work at around 11.30am at the studios.

I got our tech crew to knock up some black drapes for the gig, as we wanted to dress the school so it didn't look like a primary school hall. When people come to the festival, we want the experience to be as good as possible./

3pm. I loaded the van with a PA system, drapes and lights for the show, then drove to the school. By 4.30pm, it was all rigged, thanks to Dan who helped me. The rest of the crew also arrived with the bar. 

4.30pm. Joe Stilgoe arrived, he was delighted to see the piano and the system we'd rigged. He said that it was always a bit hit and miss doing local festivals but he soon settled in.

After a very straightforward soundcheck, it was a question of waiting for the hordes to arrive, which they duly did. The gig was a sell out and everyone had a wonderful evening. The efforts we made dressing the hall certainly paid off

 Joe did two sets and we finished by 9.30. We then had to pack up the chairs, dismantle the PA and lights and we were out by 10.30. I got back to Mill Hill, put some diesel in the van and managed to get a Kebab from Cobans. I was safely tucked up in bed, for an early start on 

Friday 17th.

An early start as the chairs had to be back in North Finchley for 8am, so the school could use them in assembly. Dan joined me and we were back in Mill Hill by 9am after unloading a van full of chairs. Back home, have a swift breakfast, walk the dogs then back to the studio to load a stage, sound equipment and gazebos. I arrived ath the venue at Mill Hill Golf Club at 11.30 am.

We then spent the day on the hottest day of the year building a stage, putting up the lighting rigs, etc. The golf club kindly laid on lunch.

At around 3.30pm the band and our amazing sound guy Vince Cooper arrived. The band set up, Vince put the PA togather and the soundcheck was done and dusted by around 6.30

The Brit Funk Association are a wonderful band and truly lovely guys to boot. The support band was my old mate Gerry Keane's Recollection. I've known Gerry since I was 4 and we were at St Vincents together. He was the first mate to put a band together and I think it's fair to say his current band are the best of the lot! Both bands did super sets and got the audience on their feet. 

The music finished at 11pm and we then had to break the whole thing down and pack into the van. This was done by 2am. I had a few beers, so I had to do the walk of shame back to our house. When I got home, I then walked the dogs, so it was 3am to bed. It was a fantastic night with an excellent crowd.

Saturday 18th

I had an early start at 9am at the studios. We had Rockschool exams booked, which I always am present for the set up for. I then got the van unloaded into our store rooms. The event was the BBC Elstree Concert band at Hartley Hall. The stage and plinth was required, so this had to be taken and set up. We also had to do some work on the Hall lighting to ensure that the band could be seen and could see their sheet music. Another successful night, sell out crowd and amazing music from the 1920's with George Gershwin. It looked and sounded wonderful. 

I had the task of being MC for the night. After the band finished, we did a super quick load out and we were in the Mill Hill Tandoori for 9.45, with friends and family who'd come for the show (my wife plays in the band as well as being Festival treasurer). Mr Lemon at the Mill Hill Tandoori, who is a good friend kindly let us stay until midnight. All in all a very pleasant evening.

Sunday 19th.

The final day of the festival and a Jazz lunch at Finchley Nurseries. The first task of the day was to unload the van from the previous night. Then we put the PA system Gazebo's and staging to the Nurseries. We were up there at 10.30am, erected the Gazebo's set up the PA system. The band arrived at 1pm, for a 2pm start. We had been worried about the weather but it turned out to be a wonderful day. 

Around 300 people attended which was a great success. The Nurseries were most chuffed.

When the band finished, we had our final packdown and back to the studio. By 6pm, we were done. As we'd done no shopping, we nipped down to BAW in the Broadway for some tasty Thai food. After that it was home for a nice bath and an early night!


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